Sunday, March 18, 2012

In Praise of Soccer Moms

This afternoon, I found myself riding in the front seat of a minivan, heading north on the Garden State Parkway to a travel soccer game. My driver was a friend named K., just 30, with three children, ages 10, 8 and 5. Traveling with us were my 12-year-old son and her oldest, her daughter K, a fifth grader who plays up on a boys' travel team.

As she drove, K. fielded phone calls on her cell phone from her husband, from other soccer coaches and from the managers of three other soccer teams with which she is involved. It occurred to me, that were it not for women like K. my son never would have played what is now his ninth soccer season with our local club. K. never finished college, but she has the management skills of someone running a thriving business.

Without women who stay home for at least part of their children's childhoods, so much of what other children in my suburban community enjoy - the travel soccer teams, the privately subsidized public schools' music programs, and so on, would not exist.
K. was pitching in as coach with one of our assistant coaches with L., another stay-at-home mom who does have an MBA - and four school-aged children. Our head coach, a man , was out of town on a business trip.

I sat down with my knitting on the sidelines next to the team manager, the person who coordinates all the practice schedules, and game schedules and who has to figure out when the basketball season ends and when so-and-so has a bar mitvah that most of the kids are going to so we can't schedule a game. T. sat with her four-year-old son nestled in her lap napping. T. is the mother of four, a former public school teacher who left that profession to raise her children, who range in age from high school to preschool.

To be clear, I don't believe every woman is called to be home with her children or, conversely, that every woman is called to be in the paid workforce. And, as my own life shows, these roles can change as our children grow. I have been a stay-at-home mom, a work-from-home mom, and a working full-time in the workplace mom.

Sitting beside me and the team manager on the sidelines were two other moms - a litigator who works for a Manhattan law firm and has one son and a college professor of political theory with three children, including twins.

I don't think if you had listened in on our conversation you would have known who was who: who has the PhD. and who has spent nearly two decades at home with children. We talked about our sons' public school experiences about the social and academic sides of their lives. And to a woman, each of us is what I consider a good-enough mom, loving, kind and involved.

All that said, today was a day where I was able to see, really see, how the sacrifices and contributions of my magnificent stay-at-home mom friends are making so much of what my 12-year-old enjoys possible.  I am very grateful.


  1. It's nice to see a non-mommy-wars sort of post, one that is supportive of both SAHMs and Work-away-from-home-moms. There isn't one right way, and every family needs to find what works for themselves.

    I think some of the mommy wars tend to be fueled by fear that we aren't "doing it right" - and we aren't. We all are making mistakes. That's pretty much a given. And our kids will still, somehow, be okay.

  2. People who give their time to any cause that advances the development and education of youth - have my respect and appreciation. Thank you for the reminder.

  3. I try to constantly thank the moms who can take the time to be the room mothers and the team moms and the coaches and the many other volunteers of whom my children benefit. Love this reminder. Thanks Allison.